A Stumble into Wedding Photography (Pt I)

So just how did I end up at a beach on a beautiful August day, among a group of strangers for an intimate wedding, with a camera and a rented lens strapped around my neck?  Let me tell you a story.

Last Spring, as I began to share my enthusiasm about photography with my friends, I was frequently asked, “What kind of photography do you want to get into, like, wedding photography?”  My immediate response was always “Oh my goodness NO!”  and Jared, who wasn’t even into photography yet, would mirror my response.  A barage of fear-filled excuses would follow:

“There’s so much pressure!”
“They’re too high stress.”
“That’s way too much responsibility for me.”

The thought of being responsible for images that would be viewed for generations to come was absolutely horrifying to me.  I thought there was no way I’d be able to handle all of that pressure.  And what a burden to bear if I didn’t get any good pictures at all!  Or if some mishap occured with my camera or memory cards?  Family portraits can be rescheduled but you only get one shot at a wedding.

Then it happened.

Coming off of an amazing July,  I became more comfortable and confident in responding to ads on Craigslist for people who were looking for a photographer.  Whether a second shooter, event photographer or wedding photographer, I was responding to put my name in the mix, though I rarely heard back.

So I didn’t think twice when I responded to someone looking for a wedding photographer for a small beach wedding at the end of August down in Westport, MA.  Three days later, my heart almost jumped out of my chest when I received an email from Kelly:

“Hi Debbie,

Thank you so much for inquiring.  We would like to give you the opportunity to shoot our wedding if you are still interested.”

My mind raced:

HOLY  COW!!!!  THEY PICKED ME!!!!

and then,

OH CRAP – THEY PICKED ME!!!

I then proceeded to write an SOS email to Binita, the photographer I was second shooting with at the time,  with the subject line “Help! I booked a wedding!”.  She thankfully brought me back down to reality and assured me that I was capable of doing this. 

So I replied to Kelly’s email:

“Hi Kelly,

Thank you SO much for the opportunity!! I’m thrilled you picked me :-). I have a busy afternoon but wanted to respond and let you know that you’ve got yourselves a photographer!”

GASP!  I committed, and that meant I had 25 days to figure out how to photograph a wedding!  I can tell you there were a lot of OMGs flying around the apartment that Sunday afternoon.  I was beyond excited for the opportunity and terrified at the same time . 

What do I charge?
What do I give them?
Will I choke? 
Will they like me? 
What if something happens with my camera? 
How do I pose them?
What about formals?
What lens should I use?
What time is the sun setting and what direction?

25 days.  That was all I had to answer all of the questions that were swirling around in my head.  Weeks dwindled down to days and then the time finally came for me to meet Kelly and Chad.  I walked into Kelly’s parent’s house, three days before the wedding, with my fingers crossed, hoping for the best.

Stay tuned for Part II for the rest of the story, and my favorite images from the day:-)

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Sarah - It’s great to read up on how you found your first wedding….I am in the works of possibly acting as a second shooter for the person who did our e-pics. Hoping I can get involved soon so I can learn a few things!

Maureen - I love this post!! I’m doing what you were originally, mostly portraiture. I have no intention of getting into weddings, though I feel I’ll probably fall into it similar to the way you did. I go through all those things you list in my head for every shoot! Btw, I see you’re in Quincy, MA. I live in CT now, but grew up in Quincy! Small world! Please keep up the great posts!

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